Paramaribo, Suriname --- (METERING.COM) --- November 26, 2010 - New water meters and improved billing will be among the benefits that accrue from a new $12 million loan to Suriname from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB).

The loan is aimed at improving potable water service for up to 50,000 people in priority districts of the coastal area and improving the efficiency of the public water service operators.

Specifically, the program will rehabilitate aging water networks by replacing old pipes and installing residential household connections and water meters, among other activities. Water losses caused by leaks and non-payment will be reduced through a comprehensive plan that will include a modern monitoring system, new flow and pressure meters and enhanced revenue collection.

The program will also finance a pilot project to improve energy use by the Suriname Water Company (SWM), by replacing old pumping equipment with new and more efficient alternatives, and by introducing new energy monitoring practices in eight locations selected in the most populated project area.

Further, the program will pay for training at SWM and the Department for Water Supply under the Ministry of Natural Resources (DWV/NH).

SWM, a government-owned utility, supplies water to approximately 70 percent of Suriname’s population, equivalent to 76,165 households (approximately 350,000 people), mainly in the Greater Paramaribo area. The DWV/NH is responsible for supplying drinking water in the coastal rural areas and the interior.

In the Greater Paramaribo area more than 20 percent of water micrometers are in inoperative condition and levels of non-revenue water are as high as 45 percent, while in the peri-urban and rural coastal areas non-revenue water levels are estimated to be over 60 percent.

During the five-year program, 8,000 new water meters will be installed, with 3,000 meters being new connections in Wanica and Para and 5,000 meters being replacements in Leidingen in the Wanica district.

The program also is expected to result in a 10 percent increase in the amount of water that is properly billed. Further there should be a significant drop in energy usage, and a reduction in average response times for repairs to the network from 10 days currently to 5 days.